Dimitrios Giannakopoulos

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

University of Ioannina

Grant number

Gr. 10218

Approve Date

October 7, 2021

Project Title

Giannakopoulos, Dimitrios (University of Ioannina) "‘Performing informality in rural Greece: morality, legitimacy, and belonging."

In the rural area of Agrinio, in Western Greece, informality is ubiquitous. All sorts of agricultural goods, from olive oil and dairy products to tobacco and alcohol, are informally produced and traded. Ordinary people participate massively, either as producers or consumers, avoiding taxation, but interreacting with establishment values and practices. Although the term ‘informality’ is commonly used to describe practices that emerge unofficially and form second or covert economies, its analytical vigor has led researchers from different disciplines to use it as an umbrella for the study of unwritten rules and local ways of ‘getting things done’ that resist articulation in dominant discourses (Ledeneva 2018). This research proposes to unpack and problematize informality in rural Greece and thus contribute to broader theoretical debates that: 1) elucidate grassroots responses in times of economic and social crises, 2) question top-down conceptualizations of the ‘rule of law’, and 3) politicize the formation of modes of belonging. Also, the pandemic compels an exploration of the researcher’s positioning in the field. The main question is: How do ordinary people perform informality in rural Greece? How do differently situated actors devise and implement informal, yet socially valid practices and notions of economy, legitimacy, and belonging?